To work for a great company and have a fantastic boss sounds ideal, doesn’t it? To be immersed in a workplace that is clear on it’s vision and one that excites you, that values it’s employees as top priority and invites inclusion and contribution, that takes it’s ethics and values seriously and one that provides a workplace that is engaging, relevant and encourages people to bring their best selves to work sounds wonderful. And then to have leaders who inspire, communicate effectively, who are human and build strong relationships with their team whilst also encouraging high performance is the cream on top of a very appetizing cake. Pass me a slice of that!
On the flip side, what if you worked for an amazing company but had a horrible boss? Or had a fantastic boss but worked for a dreadful company? What makes the difference?
Perhaps like you, I have experienced a few of these scenarios. Luckily, the good bosses and good company outweighed the bad. But the engagement and motivation levels I felt in all scenarios were very, very different.
It’s interesting when I hear people complain about the organisation they are working for. The complaint generally isn’t about the organisation itself, it’s about the leadership, unrealistic expectations and the lack of communication, all of which are influenced by people. And in my situations, how I felt in all of my roles were influenced by who my leader was. Whether they were interested in me, whether they had my back or not and if I felt like I was empowered and challenged to be my best – that is what made the biggest difference.
Each year, Fortune partners with Great Place to Work to survey employees from companies around the globe to determine the best places to work. It’s interesting to read why the employees believe these companies are a great place to work. If you take the top 3 companies of 2018 which are Salesforce, Hilton and Mars Inc , the reasons they have been rated as a great place to work are based on leadership, the strong ethics the company operates by and the culture. Their people feel inspired, are immersed in a great environment and have clarity on the essence and purpose that is at the core of the company. They know why they are coming to work.
It is well known that people leave leaders and not organisations. Feeling unvalued, unappreciated and disconnected from what the organisation stands for and feeling stifled is less about the company itself and again more about the leadership. It’s the human side of things that influence all of those feelings, not the infrastructure or processes of a business, it’s the leadership.
I believe having a great leader is something that every employee aspires to have. Especially now where artificial intelligence, automation and a world that is becoming increasingly superficial as technology evolves is more commonplace, the need to belong and relationships built with leaders is becoming even more important.
So my answer to this question – while a great boss is certainly the priority, you also need to ensure the company you choose to work for is aligned with your values and has the capacity to fulfill what is important to you to keep you engaged and motivated. And whilst the company may not be perfect if the environment is such that encourages you to contribute and influence it to be a better place to work, then that counts for a lot in my book. That’s where the human factor comes into play and is something that is influenced by the leadership.